Six Powerful Lessons I Learned From My Mother.

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Six Powerful Lessons I Learned From My Mother.

My mother gave me something that no other person could give me – my life.

She has moulded and shaped me more than most people in the world.

When I was born, she gave her heart to me.

Since then, I have carried Ma’s heart with me, and I will do so till the end of my life.

It was strange that even though Ma was not quite educated and have never gone through a course in motherhood, Ma lived out her role almost naturally.

Her love was unconditional – a love that never falters and lasts forever.

Ma was a full-time mother and a full-time labourer, an act that only true mothers could do.

After a long and hard day at work, she would return home and ensure that everything that needed to get done would be done.

The family would be together and there was warmth – enough for seven of us in a very small flat.

There was not much material comfort but nobody ever complained about the lack of love, care and concern.

Ma taught me many powerful lessons to stay alive, live well, and achieve more in life.

Let me share six of Ma’s lessons with you.,

Lesson #1 – Self-Regulation

From Ma, I learned about self-regulation.

Self-regulation is the discipline and competence to control and direct our thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

It is the basis for us to plan, make decision, and carry out our action effectively.

I have learned that people who are self-regulated are in a better position to make the right choices and be successful in life.

Lesson #2 – Grit

When I was young, I took for granted that Ma had to go to work daily to help support all of us.

I never knew what she had to go through until she brought me to work one day.

Ma did it to keep me beside her and mainly, to keep me out of mischief.

For me, it was an eye-opener and a shocking experience.

I saw Ma working alongside burly-looking men at a construction site.

The sun was beating cruelly on her suntanned and sweaty body.

Ma had to mix concrete and scoop them into buckets.

She had to carry them to brick layers before the concrete was set and cannot be used.

Time was of the essence.

In between tasks, she had to lift up bags of cement and throw them on her shoulders and then carry them up on uneven and uncompleted steps in a multi-story building.

She worked almost non-stop.

The only breaks she took were to look at me every now and then.

She had to make sure I was safe and well-occupied.

That heart-wrenching scene never left my mind.

Ma worked very hard to make sure all of us grow up well.

She wanted us to get a good education, and to find our places under the sun.

By watching Ma, I learned about how to have a growth mindset. A mindset to continue to learn, improve, and achieve better results.

As success is not a sprint but a marathon, Ma also taught me how to develop the grit to support and strengthen passions, interests and efforts despite failures, setbacks and challenges along the journey.

Without grit, it’s impossible to press on to achieve success.

Lesson #3 – Resilience

Our meals at home were simple, and there wasn’t much to eat.

I remember we would normally finish the rice first.

Then, we would slowly savour the few pieces of meat and vegetables that we had to share among ourselves.

We might have an orange at the end of the meal.

We would slice it into eight slices to share with each other and with our grandmother.

Years later, it dawned upon me that Ma never had a share of the orange – not even a small slice.

She gave the whole fruit to us – and never showed any desire for it or at least, that was what I thought.

She sacrificed many other necessities for us.

Ma would make sure our stomachs were filled before she filled hers.

I’m sure she made many other sacrifices for us.

I have never heard her talk about the sacrifices or grumble to us about the hard life.

One of my brothers passed away when we were young and Ma never talked about him since then.

I knew, like any mother would know, it must have broken her heart to lose one of her own.

Ma carried the pain in her heart.

She lived with the sorrow like so many of the other tragedies in our family life.

Bore the burden of every sadness, and never for once did she share any of the burden with us – a sacrifice that only mother could make.

Ma demonstrated to me what it meant to have resilience.

Resilience is the discipline and competence to learn from failures.

It is the ability to bounce back from a setback to become a better person and to become more empowered to achieve goals and visions.

Lesson #4 – Character Development

In terms of providing child education, Ma was ahead of her times.

She did not emphasize getting good grades as much as developing a good character with sound values.

It was almost instinctive to her that what matters most was not what was printed on the Report Card but the track record of how I have lived my life.

Ma believed in developing a sound character.

A sound character is one with integrity. It is wholesome, balanced and complete with good values.

These values include love, compassion, kindness, patience, humility and having a peace-loving nature.

A sound character is like a good vehicle that can carry us to our destination in life.

Lesson #5 – Giving Back

Once, I jumped off from the top of a cupboard, pretending that I was a Superman and trying to save the world.

Unfortunately, I slipped and my forehead landed on a metal container.

I had a deep slash on the top part of my forehead, the scar of which remains until today.

Ma and Papa rushed me to the hospital.

She sat beside me while the doctor performed the operation.

Ma held my hands and stroked my forehead in the loving and gentle way as only a mother could do.

As the doctor sewed – stitch by stitch – to close up my wound, Ma must have felt pain and anguish stabbing her heart with every stitch.

I am sure she would have done everything to exchange place with me.

Her heart must have been broken to see her child screaming in pain.

What happened next was an experience that would be etched in my mind forever.

My parents bought me a rectangular-shaped bun with sweet creamy fillings.

I sat in close proximity between them and felt like a prince.

The feeling of love still coast through my being as if I were there again.

Ma’s love goes beyond any other earthly love.

It’s a selfless love that embraces me no matter how bad or disappointing I might occasionally have been.

In that love, I can always find comfort, kindness and compassion – and it’s priceless.

I have seen Ma extended the same love, care and concern to many people around her.

Right now, even in her eighties, she’s looking after her friends, some of whom are older than her.

Ma inspires me to give back to the community and society.

Ma showed me how to serve from the heart and make a positive difference to others.

Lesson #6 – Hope and Optimism

Ma devoted her life to looking after us and making sure we do our part for the community.

I have always felt that at another time and in another place, Ma would make a great leader in a large and growing organization.

Now and then, I would joke with her that she should stand for election and be a leader in the government.

I learned from Ma the power of holding on to dream, hope and optimism.

All her life, Ma believes that life will get better.

She is filled with hope and is optimistic that we can always improve and have better achievements.

Without dream and a sense of optimism for the future, life will be boring and meaningless.

Dream, hope and optimism can help us live a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling life.

The good news about these six lessons is that they are not parts of a genetic trait.

They can be learned and taught.

I believe these lessons can help us achieve better results and become more successful in life.

As an adult, I feel like a ship.

I can be tossed by choppy water, suffered through stormy weather, and sailed to uncharted territory.

Deep in my heart, I know I can always return to the safe haven of my mother.

Ma’s thoughts were about me when I was born. I know she will always have me in her thoughts until the end of time.

Without Ma, who am I?

I am nothing.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

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